Malaysia suspends Pakistani pilot licence holders after scandal

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from Lahore to Karachi crashes near Karachi Airport (Representative image | Reuters). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PETALING JAYA, Jul 2, 2020, FMT. The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has temporarily suspended Pakistani pilot licence holders currently employed in Malaysia, following news that over 30% of pilots from the republic held fake licences, Free Malaysia Today reported.

The regulator said it was doing so in the interest of the “safety and security of Malaysia’s civil aviation”.

CAAM also said it is currently making all efforts to verify with PCAA, its counterpart in Pakistan, on the authenticity of these Pakistani licence holders.

“Licence holders that are verified as valid by PCAA will be reinstated immediately.

“The records of the Pakistani licence holders will be reviewed by CAAM and PCAA,” it said in a statement.

CAAM also said the suspension followed similar action taken by a number of countries that have announced their decision to ground Pakistani pilots and ban Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from operating flights in and out of their countries.

On Tuesday, regulators barred PIA from the European Union for six months after the state-run carrier grounded nearly a third of its pilots for holding fake or dubious licences.

Pakistan had grounded a third of its 434 pilots last month on suspicion that they held “dubious” licences and flying certificates.

The decision follows an inquiry into a PIA crash in May which saw 97 people killed. It was then revealed that about 150 of their pilots had “dubious licences.”

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